Army gets new materiel chief

The Army's top programs official became the service's top materiel commander during an elaborate military ceremony Friday at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Before more than 1,000 people on a chilly, windy but sunny autumn morning on the Long Parade Field, Gen. Benjamin Griffin assumed command of Army Materiel Command (AMC) and became the service's newest four-star general. He takes over for Gen. Paul Kern, who will retire from the Army later this month at his alma mater, West Point Military Academy.

In his new post, Griffin manages research and development of weapon systems and technologies, and the maintenance and distribution of spare parts. He also oversees the Army's multimillion-dollar logistics modernization program that includes the implementation of enterprise resource planning software to automate the purchasing, tracking and delivery of spare parts to warfighters.

Les Brownlee, acting secretary of the Army, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, and Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. Schoomaker said AMC's missions of acquisition support, logistics and technology makes it a challenging organization to manage, but Griffin's experience as the deputy chief of staff for programs/G-8 at the Pentagon prepared him for the job.

Griffin said AMC must provide timely and accurate support to warfighters, and help Army leaders develop and field the service's new modular, brigade-based formations.

"I am ready to go to work," Griffin said. "These are challenging times and we are certainly in a tough fight."

The retiring Kern discussed automation, manufacturing and information technology improvements implemented or in development during his tenure and said Army officials and personnel must continue to improve processes.

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